Holla Bend NWR is located in Pope and Yell Counties, along the Arkansas River, five miles downstream from the city of Dardanelle, Arkansas. The refuge is bounded by an old oxbow that was created in the early 1950s, when the Army Corps of Engineers cut a channel through the bend in the river to promote navigation and flood control. In 1957 the Corps transferred 4,068 acres to the Fish and Wildlife Service, but retained a permanent flood easement for these acres. In 1985, a court action based on the Thalweg Law accreted an additional 1,526 acres for the refuge. Other acquisitions totaling 589 acres, plus 441 acres included in a migratory bird closure area, account for a total of 7,055 acres currently under refuge management.